I am in Texas this week. I spent my weekend in Oklahoma leading worship at a girls' retreat, and so it allowed me a trip to Texas to see friends and family. And I am thankful. But the retreat was in an outdoor pavilion, and air-conditioning was non-existent. If you put a pregnant girl in Oklahoma during summer with no air conditioning, you are going to have sweat. And swelling. Add in a five hour car ride back to Texas, and it just adds up to misery.
Saturday night I stayed with my sister Ashlae, and I got up Sunday morning to get dressed for church. I chose the skirt and shirt that made me look the least pregnant, since people are prone to giving their opinions about how large I am. And though I know it's a baby growing in there, hearing about it multiple times a day can be a little... deflating. My what a big belly you have there! When I went to put on my four inch wedge heels, chosen specifically to make my legs look longer and thinner, I really noticed it. The feet that were slightly swollen the day before were now explosively swollen, even after a full night's rest. It was not comfortable, nor was it attractive. There was no way I could wear the skirt or the shoes.
Thankfully, I thought to bring a second outfit. I had an ankle length dress that would easily cover my feet and I had more practical shoes. I changed quickly, packed up my things, and we headed to church. For the rest of the day, I avoided looking down. My feet looked like the feet of a stranger. Other than the gold nail polish that covered my toes, nothing about them looked like mine. And it seems like a small thing, but when 90% of a wardrobe no longer fits and comfort, rather than fashion, becomes the driving force behind dressing, it's work to feel good about the way I look. I have spent 36 years with my body being a certain shape. Various sizes, but always the same shape. And now, it just seems strange. I cannot decide by just looking if something will fit me. I don't know my body anymore. Everything about it is foreign. Leaning over to latch my sandals has become a distant memory. It just doesn't work. Shaving my legs will eventually be an impossibility. This is just all new territory for me.
But just like this summer is going to give way to fall and then to winter, this is a season. The belly that feels like it weighs a ton already, compressed nerves, waking up three times a night to use the bathroom, clothes not fitting, swelling feet... it's all part of this season. And the next season will bring other things. Sleepless nights, clothes still not fitting just right, mounds of baby laundry, cloth diapering. It will all be part of the next season. And then my baby will grow and change and we will move onto something else.
And this gives me hope. Hope that nothing difficult lasts forever. The hard things I have been through have never been permanent. They will always give way to something new. And so will yours. I have friends that are in strange seasons. One is still working her way through the death of her husband, one is struggling with how mundane marriage and family life can be, another is waiting for Mr. Right to come along, and another is waiting on a referral for an African baby that feels like it may never come. But these too are seasons. And before they know it, the season will change and give in to a whole new picture. And I can't wait to see what it all looks like.
Right now I am sitting in Starbucks, so thankful to have one near. Our little town in Tennessee has lots of lovely things, but a Starbucks is not one of them. This is another part of my current season... learning to live without Starbucks and Chickfila. But even as I look down at my not-quite-back-to-normal feet, my baby is kicking. I am wearing my maternity pants that fit underneath my belly, and I swear this child hates these pants. Every time I wear them, he kicks and hits and rebels against them. And feeling him move inside of me is a little freaky but also sweet. It is proof that this baby is mobile and healthy. And I am thrilled.
Last night I slept for 8 long hours. Today I get to have coffee and dessert with my lovely friend Caryn and dinner with another group of friends and I don't have to think about childcare. I left the house this morning without having to pack a diaper back. I just grabbed what I needed and headed out the door. So I will take it, this season of maternity clothes and swollen feet. I will smile at the comments about how large I am getting, and I will choose to hear that my baby is growing, just like he is supposed to. But for goodness' sake, if you see me and I am wearing an ankle length skirt, know that it's for a reason. And please don't look at my feet.